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Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel Paperback – April 25, 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
Book 3 of 7 in the Inspector Winter Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cars from Sweden are known for being dependable and safe, but like this American debut from a celebrated Scandinavian crime writer, their stolid lines don't necessarily spark excitement. Erik Winter, a jazz-loving, gourmet-cooking detective, is a blaze of color amid the drab postwar apartment blocks of Gothenburg, a city reeling from a macabre double murder. Winter, whose normally secure battlements are assaulted by family tragedy and the impending birth of his first child, sets out to follow the dark drops of gore blooming in the snow. The path leads in any number of interesting directions—through thickets of death metal enthusiasts and swingers, through winds of psychosexual trauma—but these subjects never pierce the book's colorless atmosphere. Excessive exposition slows down an already unhurried plot, which Americans fond of glib investigators on CSI and Hannibal Lecter's piercing irony will find insufficiently suspenseful. The villain is comparatively bland, and the translation often awkward: Winters takes a "softly softly approach" so that his witness doesn't get "chary." Add in an insistence on mundane details, such as the particulars of a simple bank transaction, and the results smother any flame of personality. All the blocks that built this gothic ice cathedral are cut straight, but assembled without the design of a compelling thriller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Digital edition.

From Booklist

Eric Winter, at 40, is Sweden's youngest chief inspector, but his brow is already starting to furrow in the manner of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander. In this American debut of what promises to be a superior procedural series, a plethora of seemingly insoluble problems contribute to Winter's sense of growing discontent: his father is dying in Spain; his pregnant girlfriend is moving into his apartment; and a bloody double murder suggests a serial killer. As in the Wallander series, the focus here lands not only on the hero but also on his entire team, as Edwardson details the slow grind of the investigative process. The action, beginning in fall 1999 and extending into spring 2000, effectively uses the Y2K panic to heighten the sense of troubled waters approaching that grips Winter and those around him. The comparison to Mankell is obvious, but in many ways, this series harkens further back, to Sjowall and Wahloo's early Martin Beck novels, in which another youngish Swedish inspector was beginning to realize that sometimes a crime's solution solves nothing. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Digital edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143037188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143037187
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jim Coughenour on November 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm rating this book 5 stars just to bring up the abysmal rating given by the only other reviewer so far; it deserves better. I'm an aficionado of Scandinavian detectives (see my manic list elsewhere). Edwardson's books are as enjoyable as any. "Never End" - the sequel to this book - is maybe richer, but "Sun and Shadow" serves as an excellent introduction to the icy world of Winter & company. The plot evolves in several dimensions and casts its own bleak spell. Connoisseurs of crime fiction won't want to miss it.
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Format: Paperback
I am a very big fan of Scandinavian crime novels, being from Norway I guess that is a no-brainer.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed Mankells series, I was looking for something a bit more contemporary and edgier. I found it with Erik Winter. I think he breaths of fresh air into the genre. He's not an aging detective but a rising star in the force. He is smart and very complex, but also has a softer side when it comes to his family/personal life. Don't expect a Henning Mankell type novel. Both 'Erik Winter' books are very much worth reading and I recommend reading them in sequential order. I'm anxiously waiting for the third to come so I can pour me a glass of wine and have an evening with Mr. Winter.
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Format: Hardcover
Ake Edwardson's "Sun and Shadow" is a worthy addition to the rapidly growing genre of Scandinavian crime dramas being translated for consumption for the English speaking market. Edwardson, however uses a slightly different formula. He devotes nearly one third of his novel developing both his characters, particularly protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter and his setting, Gothenberg, Sweden. He gives us brief glimpses at the heinous crime that will become Winter's focus.

Gothenberg is at the onset of both Christmas and the celebration of the new millenium when a brutal double murder with obvious sexual overtones is uncovered. Inspector Winter whose life is in flux owing to the anticipation of fatherhood, had recently been jetting back and forth to the Costa del Sol in Spain. His father lying on his deathbed had succumbed to his illnesses. With personal issues cluttering his mind, he now must focus on coordinating the investigation of this killing.

We soon learn through the ongoing inquest that the murder seems in some way related to couples who fulfill their sexual fantasies by wife swapping. Eyewitnesses around the crime scene report that a man in uniform was seen around the time of the murders. Could Winter possibly be searching for one of his own?

Edwardson leads us through his plot at a leisurely pace not revealing too much but concluding is a frenetic fashion as time is of the essence, as the murderer is poised to strike again.
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Format: Hardcover
I struggled through to read this book only to disappointed at the end. The writting is very disjointed hanging the scene and charecters after a couple of paragraphs. There were many events that happened in the story that added nothing to the story line. Murders that occur are vaguely described and the detectives seemes kind of dumb. For example, (SPOILER ALERT), it took them over half the book to realize that the couples were involved in swinging. It comes evedent early on due to the mulitple semen types disovered from varying periods that this would be the case. I thought it plodded and was somewhat boring. If you like Henkell,Nesbo don't bother with this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ake Edwardson seems like a different kind of mystery writer than the average. The influx of Scandinavian mysteries, in my opinion, completely revived the genre. Before this great gift, I stopped reading American crime novels. Almost every book I've read was British. The American novels were all about plot and excitement, trying not to tax the reader too much. Like an average predictable Hollywood movie aimed at 13 year old boys.
Well, I need more than the bare minimum. Luckily we got the Scandinavians. They are different sort of people, and so are their crime novels. Quiter, darker in mood and thoughts,and demanding much more from the reader. " Sun and Shadow" is one of those books. Set in last few months of 1999 in Gothenburg, Sweden, brings back the madness of the last year of the second millenium. Mr. Edwardson's characters are real people, somewhat lost in both the time they live in and the bloody murder cases they work on. They rant, brainstorm or just talk plain nonsense. But they are alive and easy to identify with. Another winner from Sweden.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is apparently the third book in Ake Edwardson's Erik Winter series, but it was the first one to be translated into English from the original Swedish and so was the first one I was able to read. This put me a bit at sea as a reader because there were frequent references throughout the book to events that had happened earlier and that were, I suppose, covered in the other books. I had to guess at their significance.

Another problem that I had with the book was its formatting in Kindle. Edwardson switches back and forth with the voice in which the story is told, almost from paragraph to paragraph at times. We'll get a few paragraphs of things from Erik Winter's perspective. Then we may hear from his girlfriend, Angela, or from one of the policemen with whom he works. That's not a problem except that there is almost always no break to show the change in voice. So I'm reading along thinking that I'm still hearing Erik Winter's thoughts and suddenly I realize that the perspective has changed and this is someone else's mind that I'm in. Really, would it have killed them to put a double space between paragraphs that represent a change in perspective? It certainly would have lessened my confusion.

And, as long as I'm putting my quibbles with the book up front, Edwardson's narrative style seems passive in the extreme. I'm not one who glories in reading the minute blood and guts details of horrible murders, but it does help the reader, I think, to at least be told in the most matter of fact way possible just what has happened to the victim(s). Here, we have a couple, murdered in their home, who apparently had their heads cut off and stuck on the top of each others' bodies, but this comes out ever so slowly and haltingly in the narrative.
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